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NGO to reward citizens for reporting shady procurement processes

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By Philip Yatai

The Follow Taxes, an NGO, says it will reward citizens who systematically report irregularities in procurement processes in Kaduna state.

The co-founder of the NGO, Dr Saied Tafida, made it known on the sidelines of two days of training for public procurement officials from the state and local communities to improve the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).

Tafida told the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) in Zaria on Thursday that the organization would also recognize outstanding ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that have joined OCDS.

He said the recognition would serve as an incentive to promote citizen participation and government response to complaints about procurement processes in the state.

According to him, the aim is to root the participation and ownership of citizens in procurement processes in order to improve the quality of service delivery in the state.

“We have already trained citizens as champions of community development in the three senatorial zones, one in each of the state’s 255 political constituencies, on how to initiate the process.

“After a while, we’ll go to the database to harvest how many reports have been received and from what part of the state and on what areas of supply.

“The citizens with the highest number of complaints from communities and local authorities will be recognized and rewarded.”

He said that the capacity of citizens would be further enhanced to engage more in the process and make neighboring communities want to emulate the process.

He said that for MDAs, the NGO would reward agencies based on the amount of data they uploaded to the OCDS platform and the amount of citizen complaints and requests they responded to.

“We will rank MDAs based on their performance and reward those who are doing very well.

“MDAs with the highest data upload and response will be rewarded and recommended for Governor Recognition to encourage them to do more.

“We hope this idea will be adopted by the Kaduna State Procurement Authority (KADPPA) for sustainability to ensure strong citizen engagement in the procurement process,” Tafida said.

NAN reports that the training was organized through Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women and Tax Tracking with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, to improve the implementation of OCDS in Kaduna State.

Tafida explained that OCDS enables the disclosure of data and documents at all stages of the procurement process by defining a common data model.

According to him, the OCDS is created to increase contract transparency and allow more in-depth analysis of contract data by a wide range of users.

He said this would enhance accountability and transparency in procurement processes in the state.

Mr. Mohammed Suleiman, Director of Compliance and Capacity Building, KADPPA congratulated Follow Taxes for this initiative, calling it “crucial” for strong citizen participation.

Suleiman said all purchasing managers will be trained in the use of e-procurement and OCDS portals, adding that the portals will be made user-friendly and adaptable to mobile phones. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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